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Showing posts with label TKO Group Holdings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TKO Group Holdings. Show all posts

February 15, 2024

UFC, WWE partner on 5-year deal to bring events to Anaheim

The UFC and WWE merged last year into one company, the publicly traded TKO Group owned by Hollywood talent agency Endeavor. And now, some of the effects of that merger are coming to light. 

The UFC and WWE have signed a joint live event partnership with sports and entertainment district OC Vibe that will bring multiple events from both promotions to Honda Center in Anaheim, California, over the next five years, officials told ESPN on Thursday. An official announcement is expected later Thursday. 

Beginning this year, the UFC and WWE will hold at least three events each at the arena through 2028, including the possibility of UFC pay-per-view and Fight Night cards and WWE Raw or SmackDown television programs.

The deal does not specifically call for the UFC and WWE to hold events on back-to-back days or in the same week, though it's a possibility. The deal is the first of its kind since TKO Group formed officially last September -- and it could be indicative of how the new company will package the UFC and WWE together to jurisdictions and tourism authorities in the future. Both promotions have been actively looking for partners for these types of arrangements across the world, where local governments or private companies will pay to bring either one -- or both -- to their respective regions.

source:  espn.com

February 2, 2024

Federal Prosecutors Investigate Vince McMahon Sex-Trafficking Allegations

WWE co-founder Vince McMahon is under federal investigation over the allegations of sexual assault and sex trafficking against him, according to a report

Prosecutors in New York have been in touch with alleged victims of McMahon, people familiar with the investigation told the Wall Street Journal.

McMahon resigned last week from the WWE after former employee Janel Grant filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing her and trafficking her to other men inside the wresting giant.

The former honcho has denied the allegations and said the federal investigation won’t find wrongdoing.

“I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name,” he told the outlet in a statement.

 WWE didn’t respond to requests from the Journal about the investigation or about the individual women’s allegations. 

Brock Lesnar Pulled From WWE Digital Game Following Janel Grant Allegations

WWE star Brock Lesnar has reportedly been removed from the WWE 2K Supercard Digital Collectible Game, following allegations against him in the Janel Grant case. 

As per "PWInsider," Lesnar has been taken off the digital card game, and he will likely be "downplayed" or removed from various 2K games going forward. This is following the company's stance on Lesnar, who was originally supposed to be part of the men's Royal Rumble match last weekend, but was removed at the last minute following the news of the Vince McMahon allegations. 

The recent lawsuit filed by Janel Grant against McMahon alleged that the former WWE CEO asked Grant to reportedly create "personalized sexual content" for Lesnar, to persuade him to sign a new deal with WWE in 2020. Lesnar, who was to return to WWE at the Royal Rumble, was replaced by Bron Breakker in the match and the young star impressed in his Royal Rumble debut.

Following the allegations, Slim Jim, who had signed a deal with WWE last year, paused their contract with WWE, before returning to the fold after McMahon's resignation from TKO. WWE also removed a Vince McMahon shirt that was being sold at the Royal Rumble venue last Saturday after the allegations against McMahon came to light, while his WWE.com profile page was also removed. 

Dave Meltzer recently claimed that fans may have seen the last of Lesnar and McMahon in a WWE ring, due to the seriousness of the allegations against them. 

January 28, 2024

Triple H When Asked About Vince McMahon Allegations: I Want To Focus On The Positives

At the WWE Royal Rumble post-show press conference, Jon Alba asked WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H about the allegations against Vince McMahon and how the situation affects WWE.

“I’m gonna do exactly what you would expect me to do here,” Triple H said. “Look, we just had an amazing week. A ten-year, $5 billion Netflix deal, Rock joining our board. We just sold out the Royal Rumble, put 48,000 people in Tropicana Field. I choose to focus on the positive. Yes, there’s a negative, but I want to focus on that and just keep it to that.”

Triple H was then asked to describe what is being done to make sure people in positions of power can’t take advantage of employees under them.

“I’ll give you the most generalized answer that I can. Everything possible. That is a very important thing to us, a very important topic to us. It’s as simple as everything possible.”

Triple H Says He Has Not Read The Lawsuit

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics subsequently asked Triple H whether he read the lawsuit featuring the allegations against Vince McMahon.

“I did not. I did not,” Triple H said. “I think Cody mentioned it, that we all found out real-time when you were, and that’s the truth. I’ll go back to what I said before. This is an amazing week for us. I just, at this point, I don’t even want to get bogged down in the negatives of it. I just want to focus on the positives and where we’re going, and we’re at the most exciting time of the year for us, we’re at the most exciting point, to me, business-wise I think that we’ve ever had.

“I think [it’s] the best positioning of this company since the A.ttitude Era. I’ve been through that era. I understand what it’s like. I feel like we are in the middle of something that, while we might not be able to put our finger on it right now, five, ten years from now, we’re gonna be saying wow, what a time that was. I want to focus on that.”

January 27, 2024

End Of An Era 2.0

For the first time since its inception as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation in the 1950's, the only member of the McMahon family currently with the WWE is a Levesque. End of an era.

January 26, 2024

Statement from Vince McMahon as he officially resigns from TKO

“I stand by my prior statement that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth. I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.” 

“However, out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO business and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all of the employees and Superstars who helped make WWE into the global leader it is today, I have decided to resign from my executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors, effectively immediately.”

Vince McMahon Resigns from Executive Roles at TKO Group Amid Legal Turmoil

Vince McMahon has stepped down from his roles as the Executive Chairman and Board Member of TKO Group Holdings, Inc., a conglomerate created by Endeavor, incorporating both WWE and UFC.

In a communication with employees, WWE President and member of the TKO Board, Nick Khan, announced, "Vince McMahon has relinquished his positions as TKO's Executive Chairman and as a member of the TKO Board of Directors," as reported by Variety. "His involvement with both TKO Group Holdings and WWE has come to an end."

This development follows a lawsuit filed against McMahon by Janel Grant, a former WWE employee. The lawsuit charges McMahon, along with the company and ex-WWE executive John Laurinaitis, of abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking her to other individuals, including Laurinaitis, previously the head of talent relations at WWE.

January 25, 2024

Statement From TKO Group Holdings Concerning The McMahon Lawsuit

After WWE founder Vince McMahon was sued by a former employee, who alleged that he abused and sexually exploited her when he was CEO of the wrestling-entertainment company, a spokesperson for TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE and UFC, said in a statement:

“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE. While this matter predates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally.”

WWE Founder Vince McMahon Accused of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking in Lawsuit by Former Employee

It's arguably been the most newsworthy week in WWE history, after the promotion announced a 10-year, $5 billion deal with Netflix Tuesday, with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon front and center at the New York Stock Exchange. Now on Thursday, McMahon is front and center again, for all the wrong reasons.

The Wall Street Journal reports that McMahon has been sued by former WWE employee Janel Grant, who has accused McMahon of sex trafficking. The lawsuit, filed Thursday morning, further alleges that McMahon abused and sexually exploited her while he was still WWE's Chief Executive, that he coerced her into sexual relations with the "promise of career advancement," and would later traffic her to other men within WWE.

Grant, who signed an NDA with WWE in 2022, claims she first met McMahon in 2019 in the apartment building they both lived in. McMahon allegedly promised Grant work at WWE and proceeded to "shower her with gifts." The suit goes on to allege that McMahon pressured her into sexual activities in order to secure her a job. Grant was hired by WWE in June 2019 as "administration coordinator," a position McMahon allegedly created for her. She subsequently had little work to do, leading to other WWE employees complaining, and Grant believing her job was "unearned."

Grant further alleges that McMahon would send her sexually explicit messages, increased demands for sex, and began forcefully using "toys" during sex, injuring her. She also claims McMahon would share photos and videos of her with other WWE execs and wrestlers, and that he recruited others in WWE to have sex with her, including then WWE head of talent relations John Laurinaitis. The suit further alleges Grant's mental and physical health deteriorated, leading to McMahon sending her to what was described as a "celebrity doctor" in November, and later paying $20K for surgery.

The suit goes on to claim that Grant would be transferred to the talent-relations division in May 2021, leading to her working directly under Laurinanitis. Grant alleges that a month after the transfer, McMahon and Laurinaitis would lock her in an office, and took turns sexually assaulting her, followed by McMahon assaulting her again a week later.

The suit further claims that Grant would sign an NDA in January 2022, after McMahon told her his wife, Linda McMahon, had learned about their relationship. Nevertheless, McMahon would only pay $1 million of the agreement before ceasing making payments and continued his abuse through March 2022. Grant would also once again text explicit photos to the WWE star, but the two would still never meet.

January 23, 2024

Netflix to Become New Home of WWE Raw Beginning 2025

WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced a long-term partnership that will bring WWE’s flagship weekly program – Raw – to the world’s leading entertainment service. This marks a major programming shift as Raw leaves linear television for the first time since its inception 31 years ago.

Beginning in January 2025, Netflix will be the exclusive new home of Raw in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Latin America, among other territories, with additional countries and regions to be added over time. Likewise, as part of the agreement, Netflix will also become the home for all WWE shows and specials outside the U.S. as available, inclusive of Raw and WWE’s other weekly shows – SmackDown and NXT – as well as the company’s Premium Live Events, including WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble. WWE’s award-winning documentaries, original series and forthcoming projects will also be available on Netflix internationally beginning in 2025.

“This deal is transformative,” said Mark Shapiro, TKO President and COO. “It marries the can’t-miss WWE product with Netflix’s extraordinary global reach and locks in significant and predictable economics for many years. Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix.”

“We are excited to have WWE Raw, with its huge and passionate multigenerational fan base, on Netflix,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer, Bela Bajaria. “By combining our reach, recommendations, and fandom with WWE, we’ll be able to deliver more joy and value for their audiences and our members. Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”

“In its relatively short history, Netflix has engineered a phenomenal track record for storytelling,” said Nick Khan, WWE President. “We believe Netflix, as one of the world’s leading entertainment brands, is the ideal long-term home for Raw’s live, loyal, and ever-growing fan base.” 

With 1,600 episodes to date, Raw is the most iconic show in sports entertainment. Since its debut in 1993, Raw has delivered action, compelling drama and unmatched athleticism – 52 weeks a year. Blending the best of scripted content with unpredictable live entertainment, the three-hour show has helped launch the careers of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple  H, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair.

The show is currently the No. 1 show on USA Network, where it brings in 17.5 million unique viewers over the course of the year. One of television’s best performing shows in the 18-49 advertising demographic, Raw trends on X 52 weeks a year while each new episode is airing. On social media, WWE has more than one billion followers across its platforms.

TKO Appoints Dwayne Johnson to Board of Directors

Johnson Granted Full Ownership of Trademarked Name, “The Rock”

TKO Group Holdings, Inc., a premium sports and entertainment company, has appointed Dwayne Johnson to its Board of Directors, effective today.

Johnson, one of the most decorated WWE Superstars in company history and the most followed American man globally on social media platforms, brings decades of experience in live entertainment and sports to the Board. Through his expansive business portfolio, which includes Seven Bucks Productions, Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, Project Rock, and the recently combined spring football league, the United Football League (UFL), Johnson has significant experience identifying and cultivating revenue generating media rights, live events, sponsorship, licensing, and social media opportunities. The appointment of Johnson reflects TKO’s commitment to delivering long-term value and strong performance for shareholders through strategic growth initiatives across both UFC and WWE.

Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of the Board, TKO, said: “Very few people on the planet understand the convergence of sports, entertainment, media, and business like Rock. We are proud to have him join the TKO board to help take our company to new heights.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, said: “My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build. Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle. At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari is building something truly game changing. I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”

Ariel Emanuel, CEO, TKO, said: “I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board. Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”

WWE has also entered into a services and merchandising agreement with Johnson that provides for his promotional, licensing, and other services, and an intellectual property assignment agreement pursuant to which Johnson has secured ownership of the trademarked name, “The Rock”. The name is derived from his father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history (alongside partner Tony Atlas). Johnson’s grandfather, Peter Maivia, a Samoan-American professional wrestler, was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.

The addition of Johnson, as well as today’s appointment of Brad Keywell to TKO’s Board of Directors, will increase TKO’s board from 11 to 13 members.

Johnson has been a client of Endeavor’s WME agency for nearly 13 years.

November 27, 2023

WWE-UFC Merger Challenged In Lawsuit Alleging “Sham Sales Process” for Megadeal

Investors claim that WWE board members favored a merger with Endeavor's UFC to allow Vince McMahon to stay on as executive chairman of TKO Group.

Vince McMahon’s corporate coup that paved a path for him to force his way back onto the WWE board and merge the sports entertainment powerhouse with Endeavor’s UFC is back in the spotlight, with a lawsuit arguing that he ignored more lucrative offers at the expense of investors.

A suit, unsealed in the Delaware Court of Chancery on Nov. 22, alleges that McMahon pushed a “quick sale” of WWE to Endeavor chief Ari Emanuel, his “close friend and longtime ally” who proposed a sweetheart deal that allowed the wrestling mogul to stay on as executive chairman of TKO Group and avoid scrutiny in connection with sexual misconduct allegations that could’ve ousted him from the company. According to the complaint filed by investors, WWE board members “conjured up a sham sales process” designed to favor Endeavor and “exclude other bidders seeking to axe” McMahon, disregarding at least two all cash offers with betters terms.

The complaint extensively details McMahon’s turbulent tenure as head of WWE, culminating in September with the formation of TKO Group through a $21 billion merger between UFC and WWE. He had returned to the company in January after having stepped down as chief executive amid a sexual misconduct investigation into $17.4 million in hush money payments to four different women formerly employed by the company. McMahon, as WWE’s controlling stockholder, removed and replaced three then-serving board members with himself and former executives George Barrios and Michelle Wilson.

“If McMahon was found to have breached his duty of loyalty, WWE stockholders could have sought his removal as a director,” states the suit. “Such scrutiny appears to have prompted McMahon to seek a ‘quick’ sale of the Company that also allowed him to continue running WWE.”

WWE announced on the same day as McMahon’s return in January a review of strategic options. In a statement, he said that he wanted to lead any talks about a possible sale or rights negotiations himself. Investors claim that he immediately turned to Emanuel, his former agent whom he “knew would allow him to remain at the helm” of the merged entity. They say that both the process and price point were unfair, alleging there were betters deals on the table.

According to the complaint, this included undisclosed companies submitting cash offers at $95-$100 and $90-$97.50 per share. But because they contemplated cashing out WWE stockholders and barred McMahon from rolling over his shares, which would’ve signaled his “complete ouster” from the wrestling world, the board “never bothered to make” counterproposals, the suit states.

Instead, WWE exclusively negotiated with Endeavor, proposing an all-stock deal that was contingent upon McMahon serving as executive chairman of the combined company, the complaint says. Endeavor ultimately agreed, with it owning 51 percent of the post-deal firm and former WWE stockholders owning the remaining 49 percent. Investors allege that merger was consummated at $95.66 per share, which fell below two competing, all-cash offers. (Those WWE suitors were redacted in the complaint. But the companies were described as “major institutions with significant access to capital” that had “compelling reasons to close an acquisition of WWE.” One of them likely had “significant runway to increase its offer due to the outsized synergies it could generate in a combination with” the company, the suit says.)

“Not only did he secure a future for himself at post-merger WWE, McMahon also stuffed his pockets and those of his loyalists before agreeing to a deal,” states the complaint, which points to he and former chief executive Nick Kahn securing so-called golden parachutes, along with Khan, McMahon’s son-in-law and WWE chief content officer Paul Levesque (known professionally as “Triple-H”) and WWE president Frank A. Riddick getting a combined $25 million in cash bonuses.

The suit argues that the $21 billion price tag undervalues WWE. It’s “far below the offers” the board could’ve obtained from multiple other bidders had it “made any effort to negotiate in good faith,” investors claim.

According to the complaint, McMahon and his allies on the board “timed negotiations” to favor a deal with Endeavor, including by providing early due diligence and backchanneling information to the company so that it was able to make an early offer. During this process, WWE only secured a budget for UFC’s current fiscal year rather than insisting on a full set of multi year projections, as is customary, despite agreeing to merger consideration that depended on valuing UFC accurately, the suit says. By rushing to secure a merger with Endeavor without conducting adequate due diligence, investors argue the board got an unfavorable deal in agreeing to a 51-49 split.

The complaint, filed by an Ohio pension fund, names McMahon, Khan, Levesque, Barrios and Wilson, among others. It contains various claims for breach of contract and seeks to represent all stockholders who cashed out their shares in the merger.

WWE didn’t respond to a request for comment.

source: Hollywood Reporter

November 10, 2023

Paul Levesque On WWE’s Merger With Endeavor: ‘I Can’t Tell You How Excited I Am’

Front row at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater last night for the Callum Walsh-Ismael Villarreal boxing match were UFC CEO Dana White, WWE President Nick Khan, and WWE Head of Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

The fight aired on UFC Fight Pass, which is investing more resources into its boxing and building around potential cornerstones like Walsh. A highly touted super welterweight prospect, Walsh (9-0) won a closely contested bout by unanimous decision, earning Levesque’s respect with his performance.
“It’s the first time I had the chance to see him fight live,” said Levesque, who spoke with Sports Illustrated while ringside. “He’s so well-rounded. I think this kid has it on all levels.”
Levesque marveled at the ten-round performance of the 22-year-old Walsh, who extended his undefeated streak with the victory.
“No matter what the genre, when you reach the next level, there are nerves and second-guessing that come at this level–and maybe a part of you that doesn’t believe in your hype,” said Levesque. “When you get to a certain level, a lot of it is a head game. To see how poised he is at this level, it’s awesome to see.”
Levesque is in the midst of a superb run of storytelling in WWE, especially since the company’s merger with Endeavor, which is also the parent company of the UFC. An old-school booker willing to embrace wrestling’s modern aspects, Levesque is molding Raw and SmackDown back into must-see products. Raw has been especially strong, with seemingly minute details–like advertised matches taking place–allowing multiple talents to have significant storylines.
Endeavor CEO has tasked Levesque to oversee all of WWE’s creative, a role he relishes.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” said Levesque. “Working with Endeavor, it’s next level. The flywheel for all the things they touch–if you were trying to build that on your own, it’s taking you a decade. For us, now, it fast tracks everything we’re doing.
“Endeavor, UFC, they’re the best in the business at what they do. They put things on a different level of professionalism, and we fit right into that. The future is so bright because of the opportunities Endeavor is going to provide for us and the synergies that are there. We’re going to take this to a whole new level.”

source:  si.com

November 9, 2023

Vince McMahon Puts More Than 8 Million Shares Of Class A TKO Stock Up For Sale

Vince McMahon is getting ready to sell a significant chunk of his ownership in the company, even ceding some of it to board members Ari Emanuel and Mark Shapiro.

According to a new announcement from TKO, McMahon is selling 8.4 million shares of his Class A stock in the company, roughly 30% of his stake in the company, which Brandon Thurston says is worth roughly $700 million at the stock's closing price. TKO will buy $100 million worth of the stock, while Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will purchase $1 million worth of the stock, and Endeavor president Mark Shapiro will purchase 850k of the stock. The remaining stock, worth roughly $598 million at closing price, will be sold to the public.

On Tuesday, McMahon was listed by the company as a possible liability in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. This comes less than two months since TKO filed that all 28.84 million shares of McMahon's Class A stock in the newly minted company were listed for sale, which led to speculation that the company was looking for a way to excise the controversial executive, especially since McMahon was served with a subpoena for a Federal Grand Jury, as well as a search warrant.

October 13, 2023

Triple H and Vince McMahon Have More Defined Roles in WWE

Per Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, Paul “Triple H” Levesque is in full control of WWE creative.

When WWE merged with Endeavor last month, Paul “Triple H” Levesque did not receive a seat on the Board of Directors, a position he had held prior in WWE.

Yet that has not represented a loss of power.

In fact, the opposite has occurred.

If you have noticed a change in WWE programming, you are not alone. Levesque, who is WWE’s Head of Creative, has overseen all of the creative on SmackDown and Raw since the merger, which is precisely what his job description entails.

The difference is that Vince McMahon, who is synonymous with all things WWE, is no longer directly involved in dictating the weekly creative in the same manner he once did. McMahon remained the title of Executive Chairman in WWE, but he no longer possesses majority control of the company. That has allowed for change in the new regime, particularly in the creative department.

Multiple contacts within the WWE and UFC have confirmed that Ari Emanuel, who wields power as the Endeavor CEO, is behind the change. Emanuel has long been a firm believer that, in order for an organization to be as effective as possible, people need to do the job they are assigned. In this case, that approach has empowered Levesque to exert his full influence in the company’s creative sphere.

Not all is lost for McMahon. As Executive Chairman, his focus is elsewhere, particularly in overseeing a lucrative new media rights deal for Raw and the NXT brand. But it is a fascinating time for McMahon.

No longer the be-all, end-all of WWE, McMahon possesses an iron-clad contract that protects him financially–yet not politically. Will he view this as a loss of leverage? His response will be a very telling action.

source:  si.com

October 10, 2023

Rumor Mill - Triple H And Vince McMahon's Roles In WWE Creative

Rumors began to emerge yesterday suggesting that Paul "Triple H" Levesque is fully in control of WWE creative following the formation of TKO Group Holdings. In this scenario, it was said that Vince McMahon still retains his position on the board, but is no longer submitting last-minute creative changes to "WWE Raw" and "WWE SmackDown." On today's "Wrestling Observer Radio," journalist Dave Meltzer shared what he's heard regarding the creative situation in WWE.

McMahon has reportedly "backed off" of the company's creative. However, that is only for the time being, and McMahon still retains the power to change things if he desires. As of now, though, the creative direction is said to be almost entirely set by Levesque. Meltzer stated he was unsure why exactly McMahon seems to have chosen to take a step back willingly, as he has expressed no desire to do that in the past. In fact, McMahon pushed hard to return to the company in the wake of his retirement last year, and for a period of time was said to be making a number of creative changes to WWE shows.

While the details are not yet clear, McMahon is currently under investigation by the federal government. The investigation is likely diving into alleged "hush money" payments made by McMahon to several women previously employed by WWE. Several months after news of the scandal first broke, McMahon stepped down as WWE CEO, and soon after announced his retirement. Early this year, however, McMahon would shockingly re-appoint himself to the board, quickly changing the rules to allow himself to become the company's Executive Chairman. McMahon then presided over the merger between WWE and UFC under the umbrella of Endeavor, which was finalized last month.

September 20, 2023

Details Behind Vince McMahon's WWE Ouster And Return

Last year, allegations of sexual misconduct and hush money payments forced Vince McMahon to step down from his role as WWE CEO. Though he retired for a time, it would be short-lived. McMahon was able to reinstate himself to the board earlier this year, though he remains under investigation by federal officials. A new story by the LA Times, in which the publication spoke to an "individual close to the board," features new insight into the company's internal investigation into McMahon and more.

According to the LA Times report, McMahon initially told the board he wouldn't stand in the way of their investigation into his actions. Additionally, McMahon reportedly agreed to step down from the board voluntarily, with some reluctance, while also claiming that each of the described encounters had been consensual and the payoffs had only been a matter of "protecting the company against potential litigation."

However, by December, McMahon had seemingly changed his mind about stepping to the side. McMahon sent a pair of letters to the company's board, informing them of his intent to return to shepherd a sale. Though the company's board, which at the time featured Stephanie McMahon and her husband Paul "Triple H" Levesque, voted unanimously against McMahon's return, the 78-year-old was able to use his voting power as a majority stockholder to replace two members and get himself back on the board.

The report indicates that McMahon viewed the internal investigation as being disloyal, and two more board members resigned in the aftermath of McMahon's return. Since then, McMahon was true to his word on setting the company up for a sale, with WWE and UFC merging into TKO Group Holdings, made official earlier this month. Under the new corporate infrastructure, McMahon remains in power, serving as the Executive Chairman.

September 12, 2023

Endeavor Announces Close of UFC® And WWE® Transaction To Create TKO Group Holdings, A Premium Sports And Entertainment Company

Endeavor Announces Close of UFC® and WWE® Transaction to Create TKO Group Holdings, a Premium Sports and Entertainment Company

New Company to Begin Trading Today, September 12, on the New York Stock Exchange Under “TKO” Ticker Symbol

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) (“Endeavor”) and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (previously NYSE: WWE) (“WWE”) today announced the close of their previously announced agreement and the launch of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) (“TKO”).

TKO brings together UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans1, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events. Through this combination, TKO will leverage Endeavor’s expertise in areas including domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimization, event operations, global partnerships, licensing, and premium hospitality to drive revenue growth.

“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor and TKO. “Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”

“This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights. Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO,” said Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of TKO. “Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”

TKO will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TKO,” with Endeavor holding a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders holding a 49% interest in the new company, on a fully diluted basis.

As previously announced, TKO is led by:

Ariel Emanuel, Chief Executive Officer, who continues as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor;

Mark Shapiro, President and Chief Operating Officer, who continues as President and Chief Operating Officer of Endeavor;

Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer; and

Seth Krauss, Chief Legal Officer, who continues as Chief Legal Officer of Endeavor.

Dana White is now Chief Executive Officer of UFC and Lawrence Epstein remains Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UFC. Nick Khan continues at WWE in the role of President.

The Board of Directors of TKO is led by Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman of the Board and consists of 11 members, including Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Shapiro, and Mr. Khan, in addition to the following directors:

Peter C.B. Bynoe, Senior Advisor at DLA Piper LLP;

Egon P. Durban, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Silver Lake;

Steven R. Koonin, Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Hawks, LLC;

Jonathan A. Kraft, President of the Kraft Group LLC;

Sonya E. Medina, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reach Resilience;

Nancy R. Tellem, Executive Chairperson and Chief Media Officer of Eko; and

Carrie Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer and a board member of Opendoor Technologies Inc.

September 11, 2023

End Of An Era

Tonight's WWE Raw will be the last WWE show under the full majority control of Vince McMahon. End of an era.

September 7, 2023

UFC And WWE To Close Merger Next Week, Make NYSE Debut As TKO Group

UFC parent Endeavor Group and World Wrestling Entertainment said today they expect to close the planned merger of UFC and WWE on September 12. That’s on the earlier end of expectations as Endeavor said in August it expected the deal to close in mid-to-late September.

Endeavor and WWE announced a deal last spring for the Ari Emanuel-led company to take control of WWE and merge it into a new, stand-alone entity with UFC. The professional wrestling and mixed martial arts powerhouse will be called TKO Group Holdings and trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Valued at $21 billion, TKO will be a subsidiary of Endeavor, with 51% control. WWE (Raw, SmackDown) will control 49%.

Emanuel will be CEO. continue as president of UFCVince McMahon, WWE’s longtime leader, executive chairman and major shareholder, who orchestrated the deal with Endeavor, was set as executive chair of the new company’s board.

In early August, WWE announced federal law enforcement agents had executed a search warrant and served a federal grand jury subpoena on McMahon although no charges had been brought. WWE CEO Nick Khan also said then that McMahon was on a medical leave of absence until further notice following spinal surgery. launched an internal probe of McMahon in 2022 to investigate allegations of payments to women, which it found had totaled close to $20 million and that caused it to revise several quarterly financial statements. The probe wrapped up last November and McMahon paid the company $17.4 million for costs incurred.

source:  deadline.com

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